Audiologist Doing A Hearing Test

Can Fireworks Damage Your Hearing


When you think of Independence Day, the first thing that comes to mind is probably fireworks. Fireworks are exciting, but the problem is the excitement is often measured by the “loudness factor.” Whether you are watching a professional fireworks show or have purchased your own, hearing loss and tinnitus from fireworks is a real risk.

For some people, the louder the explosion, the better. And those loud explosions have the potential to reach levels between 150 and 175 decibels. The bottom line is that that hearing loss can occur from exposure to any sound over 85 decibels, so it makes sense to take steps to protect your hearing this Fourth of July.

Why are the fireworks so loud in the first place? It all comes down to the chemical reaction that happens after the fuse is lit. The burning gunpowder releases hot gas that expands rapidly; when the gas expands to the point that it runs out of room within the firework, the resulting explosion causes a blast wave. The vibrations from that blast wave have the potential to cause permanent damage to the delicate hair cells of the inner ear. One way is to maintain a safe distance from the fireworks display. The farther you are from the sound, the less harmful the sound is to your ears, so your distance from the sound of the fireworks can make all of the difference in terms of decibel level and hearing safety. A distance of around 500 feet will still give you a great view of the fireworks, but without the sound pressure that can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear.

Contact Able Hearing to find out more about hearing protection: 800-587-4544.